“Lose Yourself,” by Eminem, a cut off of the “8 Mile” soundtrack, is a hip-hop song. Some guitarists may have turned their nose up at hip-hop, but they’re missing out. Here’s what I say to them: “Cut your mullet and get ready to for some hip-hop!”
As guitarists, we may think of the guitar as king of all instruments, playing second guit-fiddle to no other. But if you look outside of the rock genre to hip-hop, you’ll find that drums are king. In hip-hop, beats are everything and harmony and melody play a lesser role in the musical composition. Consequently, guitar is less important. It has to stand in line outside with the other instruments waiting to get into the hip-hop club. But when the guitar is used in this beat-oriented genre it is often used in a very rhythmic way.
The guitar in “Lose Yourself” doesn’t take a starring role. Instead, it plays an important supporting role, setting up the first verse with an incredibly catchy rhythmic groove. Notice how the groove is very percussive, with accents where the snare drum would hit? See, it’s all about the beat in hip-hop. This groove disappears for most of the song until after the last verse where it can be heard very quietly in the background.Why? Because it gets in the way of the drums.
Besides being a great song, “Lose Yourself” is a reminder to all guitarists that guitars play many parts in the musical theater and not all of them are front and center stage. So don’t be a “genre-snob” if you are one. Open your mind to all forms of music: you’re missing out if you don’t. And you’re likely to find guitars in places you might not expect if you do.
For more information about me and the guitar lessons that I give, visit www.ewguitar.com.